Christian Paulisich: “Whale Watching”

About the Author: Christian Paulisich is an undergraduate poet at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, but is originally from the Bay Area, California. His poems have appeared in Neologism Poetry Journal, Orchards Poetry Journal, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Monterey Poetry Review. He enjoys nature walks, drinking Yerba mate, and spending time with loved ones. 

Image Credit: Original image from Icones rerum naturalium. Copenhague,Chez E.A.H. Möller, etc.,1805-1806. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Alex Z. Salinas: “Overboard”

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Overboard

I dreamt I was pushed over the edge 

Before I was ready to jump

And the surface stung like a jellyfish’s caress 

As I sunk in the pusher’s tears— 

Herman Melville’s agony—

And anchored to my ankle was 

Moby-Dick

And I gurgled the ocean with a fleeting sense of

Poetic justice 

As the cold watery locker

Reclaimed my lungs &

The sun sailed & vanished—

Would it dive in &

Resurface my aching bones?—

How was I to know?

A killer poet (& poet killer) 

Was on the loose

And a line by Renata Adler

Rattled my suffocating mind:

Lonely people see 

Double entendres everywhere—

Would Melville attend my estate sale

And buy my library wholesale?—

How was I to know?

The deep salty palace believes not in

Reinvention

But I don’t pretend to 

Speak for the darkness

Accepting me blindly—

Blithely— 

Which is to say

Here I’m treasured 

Even though I arrived by way of

Sitting on a powder keg—

Then I woke up & choked on my spit.

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About the Author: Alex Z. Salinas is the author of two full-length poetry collections: WARBLES and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox. He is also the author of a book of stories, City Lights From the Upside Down. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Chain-Link Ocean” (2022)

Matthew Wallenstein: “Washington”

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Washington

Low 
tide. Across the bay 
the mountains are blue in moving fog. 
Animal 
corpse
in the brown grass. 
Headless and skinned.
About the size of a dog. Max says 
he thinks it is a deer that went 
In the ocean and drowned, 
washed up on shore. I nod, 
I don’t smile and I don’t mention its flippers.
Around a bend 
on the beach we find another—
skinned, headless. 
Its ribs grey, yellow, bending 
from its pile of body. It smells 
like seawater and rot. 
The flippers are splaying out 
more obviously this time, 
he sees them. 
“Oh,” he says, “it’s a seal, they are seals.”
I don’t let him forget 
that he thought it was a deer 
that went swimming.

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About the Author: Matthew Wallenstein is a writer and tattooer. He lives in the Rust Belt. Much of his work concerns growing up in poor rural New Hampshire, the deportation of his wife, and mental illness, though it also captures every day life.

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Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith, “A distant shoreline view in a Washington State town fittingly called Long Beach, since it advertises its 28-mile-long Pacific Ocean strand as “the world’s longest beach.” (2018) The Library of Congress

“Mull to Ulva” By Tobi Alfier

 

 

Mull to Ulva

Because the distance from land-shore to island
is a fingersnap in the constant of all time.

Because the tides bless fishermen and landlocked alike, full creels
the harvest here, no watery graves, no heartsong, no tears.

Because the store displays bait and boat, strong needles
for sewing the lace of fishing line, not delicate woman-lace.

Because the sun burns with savage brightness, much
as the evening stars will burn unwatched and un-wished upon.

Because the ghosts of old souls and older relics own
the dark, with nary a mortal light upon any land, sea or shore.

Because here, no one interprets the thousand pin-pricks
composing a symphony in the eggy blackness of night.

Because the fragrance of this summer conjures
memory after memory of all pasts and futures.

Because there is no caretaker, no guardian to aid thin fog
search the inlet for branch or crevice with which to gain purchase—

I wish to walk barefoot on old stone, become one with the earth and sea,
learn their secrets, raise my arms to the stars. Palm to palm, our hearts.

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(This poem was originally published in Down Anstruther Way)

 

About the Author: Tobi Alfier (Cogswell) is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee.  Her chapbook “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Aldrich Press. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was just published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

 

More by Tobi Alfier:

Possession Sound, Whidbey Island, Washington

Cape Split

 

Image Credit: Peter Henry Emerson “Cantley: Wherries Waiting for the Turn of                  the Tide” Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

 

 

 

The Ferry Captain

“Captain in the Rain at Cleggan Pier, Ireland.” By Jeffrey Alfier

 

The Ferry Captain

By Jeffrey Alfier

 

The Ferry Captain

He is the hull, diesel and waterline that mark him,
ligature of fists on the wheel. He is bow wave
and sting of spindrift, inlets sprawled with waterfowl,
tidewrack, a mind drawing tangent lines no one sees.
The wheelhouse is his tabernacle in the wilderness.
He’s a bulkhead’s argument with rust, a pennant’s
argument with gales. Spend enough of your life
at sea and you can tell windward from leeward
by the taste of wind alone. At a small remove,
just back of the helm, passengers serry against
north Atlantic cold, their voices clipped
by gusts keening through antenna wires.
Sheltered waters far astern, he is the rote cadence
of the deck crew’s footfalls. He won’t worry how late
he gets home, how long he’ll stand with his back
to the seawall, a phone ringing somewhere without
his answer, the sea a rhythm locked in his heart.

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(This poem originally appeared in The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland (Grayson Books, 2014)

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About the Author: Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard ReviewSouthern Poetry ReviewAtlanta Review, Copper NickelEmerson ReviewIron Horse Literary ReviewKestrelHotel AmerikaMidwest QuarterlyPoetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf YearlingIdyll for a Vanishing RiverFugue for a Desert MountainAnthem for Pacific Avenue: California PoemsSouthbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey PoemsThe Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland PoemsBleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.